ClimateFast is deeply troubled by the fact that the COP 27 is being held in Egypt, an extremely repressive police state where the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are harshly repressed and infractions are met with torture, incarceration and even death.
In those circumstances, ClimateFast doesn’t feel that Canada can be part of the much needed International climate negotiations leading to a successful, inclusive and participatory climate summit without bearing witness to and demanding the end of state repression of civil society in Egypt.
Therefore, ClimateFast has called on Prime Minister Trudeau and Ministers Guilbeault and Joly to do everything in their power in the remaining days before the conference starts to demand the release of political prisoners and to demand freedom of movement for civil society.
ClimateFast, together with hundreds of other groups and individuals, has also signed the following petition prepared by the Egyptian Human Rights Coalition: https://copcivicspace.net/petition/. We have also addressed letters to the Egyptian and British embassies.
This petition states, “Advancing climate justice demands an inclusive, holistic approach to environmental policy that embeds human rights and tackles systemic problems, including historically rooted social injustices, ecological destruction, abuses by businesses, corruption and impunity, and social and economic inequality.”
It also includes the following demands that challenge the level of repression experienced by civil society in Egypt:
- that "the work of civil society be recognized, publicly and at the highest levels, as essential to the advancement of climate action and just transition," including the importance of freedom of expression and independent reporting.
- "that civil society organizations, activists, and communities can meaningfully participate in all discussions and activities on climate and just-transition policy development and implementation at all levels of decision-making without fear of reprisals."
- "end the prosecutions of civil society activists and organizations and guarantee space for civil society—including human rights defenders—to work without fear of intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention, or any other form of reprisals."
- the release of “unjustly jailed human rights defenders, lifting arbitrary travel bans and asset freezes and closing all politically-motivated cases against activists targeted for their human rights work."
- "end the [arbitrary] blocking of websites and ensure access inside the country to the hundreds of independent media, human rights organizations and other blocked websites."
- "the immediate release of all journalists who have been imprisoned solely for doing their job, and an end to restrictions on media and digital spheres."
- "immediately and unconditionally release all those held simply for peacefully exercising their human rights, implementing criteria set by local NGOs for these releases: fairness, transparency, inclusiveness, and urgency."
- call out and address the human rights crisis in Egypt that includes:
- "draconian laws, including laws on counter terrorism, cyber crimes, and civil society, to stifle all forms of peaceful dissent and shut down civic space."
- "detention conditions that violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment"
- "extra-judicial executions and other unlawful killing, enforced disappearances and torture with no fear of consequences."
- "restrictions of civic space" and crackdowns "on peaceful dissent."
ClimateFast invites readers to sign and share the petition https://copcivicspace.net/petition/ and contact as many of the officials listed below as you wish, to express your concerns with the Egyptian regime and Canada’s responsibility to call for the release of all political prisoners and the freedom of movement for civil society.
Consider sending your views to these recipients:
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada: email@example.com
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada email@example.com
Mail may be sent postage-free to any member of Parliament.
Embassy of Egypt in Ottawa, Canada Embassy of Egypt in Ottawa, Canada
454 Laurier Avenue, East Ottawa, Ontario K1N6R3
(613) 234-4931, (613) 234-4935
These journalists have written about Egypt. Consider sending your letters and comments to them. See the reference articles and email addresses below.
Globe and Mail:
- Egypt's Human Rights Record Spotlight Ahead of COP27, CBC Radio Oct. 21/22
- Twitter: Naomi A Klein
- Naomi Klein Spotlights Perils of UN Climate Summit Hosted by Despotic Egyptian Regime, Common Dreams
- Amnesty International petition: Free Mohamed Baker
- change.org petition: Egyptian Military Regime: Free Your Pro-Democracy Political Prisoners Before UN COP27
- Its a Sham - Egypt Accused of Restricting Protest in Run-Up to COP27, The Guardian
- Egypt Solidarity Initiative COP27 Message: Against climate change, against dictatorship: a message from Cairo
- COP27Coalition: Our Demands